Healthcare claims rising: Zurich


Healthcare claim severity has risen steadily since 2006, with claims from teaching and children’s hospitals remaining much higher than the national average.

This is a key finding of the ninth annual Zurich Healthcare Risk Insights (HRI) Benchmark Study of Hospital Professional Liability Claims, released this month.

The study examines claims trends across healthcare venues and hospital ownership, providing a view of risk in an evolving healthcare landscape.

“At a time when the industry is experiencing dramatic change and uncertainty, it is essential for providers to accurately understand risk trends and their impact on patient safety and overall quality care,” said Glen Curley, head of healthcare professional liability for Zurich North America.

“The study provides distinctive insights into trends that can help healthcare providers analyze various aspects of risk and develop enterprise strategies to enhance outcomes, in the continuum of care.”

The study indicates that there may be a link between the high severity of claims from children’s hospitals and interest rates. There was a noticeable spike in the severity of claims from children’s hospitals starting in 2007 and the study noted that during the same time period there was also a clear decrease in the general interest rate environment.

Research suggests that the low interest rate environment may have increased the present value of life care plans often found as part of claims arising from children's hospitals, potentially explaining the jump.

The study also found that overall claim frequency continues to be quite stable from previous years and this will most likely continue. However, ongoing research suggests that claim frequency varies by location within states.

These regional differences may be attributed to a variety of factors such as differences in venue, jury make-up, the size of the hospital, loss control protocols that have been implemented, the range of services provided, and patient population and demographics.

Zurich, Glen Curley, North America